KUALA LUMPUR – Billionaire Robert Kuok (pic) is seeking a buyer for Golden Screen Cinemas Sdn Bhd, Malaysia’s largest movie theater chain, in a deal that could fetch as much as $500 million, people with knowledge of the matter said.
PPB Group Bhd., a Kuala Lumpur-listed company controlled by the Malaysian tycoon, has received first-round bids for the cinema business, according to one of the people, who asked not to be identified as the information is private.
The potential sale of Golden Screen Cinemas, which has 345 digital screens in Malaysia and Vietnam, comes as Asian film exhibitors have been expanding outside their home markets.
Companies in the region have announced $16.1 billion of entertainment acquisitions in the past year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
South Korea’s CJ Group agreed to buy control of Turkish cinema operator Mars Entertainment Group earlier this year.
Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin, who acquired U.S. chain AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. in 2012, added to the purchase this year with deals for Carmike Cinemas Inc. and the U.K.’s Odeon & UCI Cinemas Group.
Koh Mei Lee, chief executive officer of Golden Screen Cinemas, didn’t immediately respond to phone calls and an e-mail seeking comment.
Kuok is Malaysia’s richest person with a net worth of $13.1 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. PPB Group is a diversified company that controls the country’s biggest flour miller, distributes Johnson & Johnson personal-
care products, sells “Marina” brand frozen chicken nuggets and makes formaldehyde.
PPB Group Bhd’s film exhibition and distribution division generated 65.6 million ringgit ($16 million) of profit last year, making it the biggest contributor after its grain and agribusiness operations, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
Kuok controls the conglomerate through his holding company Kuok Brothers Sdn., which owns 50.8 percent of PPB Group, according to its annual report. – Bloomberg